(KTTS News) — The Greene County Prosecutor says a deadly officer-involved shooting last month in Tom Watkins Park in Springfield was justified.
The four Springfield Police officers involved in the shooting death of Justin Barker have returned to active duty.
Greene County Prosecutor Dan Patterson ruled on March 8, 2023, that the use of deadly force by four Springfield Police officers against Justin Barker on Feb. 1, 2023, was justified.
The four involved officers are no longer on administrative leave and have been released to active duty.
Previous information release:
On Feb. 1, 2023, at 1:46 p.m., Springfield Police officers were sent to Tom Watkins Park at 2100 W. High St. to check the well-being of a male who was making suicidal statements. When the officers arrived, they contacted the man in the middle of the park. While officers were talking with him, he said he had a gun and proceeded to draw a handgun from his waistband. The officers immediately ordered him to drop the gun, but he failed to comply and instead pointed the handgun toward them. The officers fired their handguns at the man, striking him several times. The officers immediately took him into custody and performed life-saving measures while awaiting the arrival of paramedics. However, he did not survive.
The deceased male has been identified as Justin M. Barker, 33, from Springfield. Barker’s family has been notified.
The four officers involved in the shooting incident have been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation. The results of a concurrent criminal investigation will be presented to the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office for review.